Monday, June 14, 2021

Cello Stands- Show Off Your Cello!

 By Andy Fein, luthier at Fein Violins and Ivana Truong

Keeping a cello out and more readily playable can encourage more frequent, shorter practice sessions. In fact, with the right set up and care, storing a cello on a stand can be relatively safe and easy! 

Three of our cellos on K├Ânig & Meyer rubber/cork cello stands

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The 'Hochstein' Stradivarius Violin of 1715 - An Excellent Model

By Andy Fein (Luthier at Fein Violins) and Mikaela Marget 

In 1978 I (Andy) was a young guy with black hair, a passion for violin making, an intense curiosity about Antonius Stradivarius and Guarnerius del Gesu, and an apprentice violin maker in Chicago. I had even made a trip (read "pilgrimage")  to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England specifically to study the Messiah Stradivarius violin

At that time, the Chicago School of Violin Making was owned by the venerable violin shop of Kenneth Warren and Son. Once a week Kenneth Warren Sr. would bring wonderful instruments to the school for the apprentices to study. One cold Chicago day, Mr Warren came in, carefully opened a beautiful case, and pulled out an exquisite violin. He held the violin up and asked, "Any guesses?" I impulsively said "Looks like a Golden Period Strad. Looks like the Messiah, but it's not. Ummm, 1715? 1716?" It was the 'Hochstein' Stradivarius violin, made circa 1715. Thus I acquired the amused dislike of every other student at the school. 

Original Hochstein Stradivarius, photo from Andy's collection
Our 'Hochstein' Stradivarius model Violin 

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Cellist Singer/Songwriters- Sometimes, a Cello is Just Plucked

By Andy Fein, Luthier at Fein Violins and Mikaela Marget 

In orchestra settings, cello sections move fluidly between holding down baselines, playing a rich harmony texture, or jumping to the forefront to play an entrancing melody. In folk music, the cello is used as a chordal, melodic, or even rhythmic instrument (ever heard of "the chop"?). 

Ok, so the cello can play many roles in a variety of traditional contexts, but how does it function as a songwriting partner? Turns out there are Singer-songwriters who utilize the cello as a chordal accompaniment instrument. These musicians may convince you that it is time to ditch the guitar for something deeper... 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Why Do Strings Break?

By Andy Fein, Luthier at Fein Violins

and Ivana Truong

Most string players have had the awful experience of getting all set for a lesson, concert, or recital and BAM a string breaks. It seems like the bigger the occasion, the more likelihood of a string breaking.

Why do strings break? What can you do to prevent a string breaking at the WORST POSSIBLE MOMENT?

Violinist Midori Goto, age 14, breaks two strings during her debut performance, 
and didn't even flinch! 

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Environmentalism and Violin-making

By Andy Fein Luthier, at Fein Violins & Mikaela Marget

Environmental Sustainability in Violin Making 

Spruce, Maple, Basswood, Ebony, Pernambuco, Tetul, Rosewood, and Boxwood. What are these? All of these are types of wood that are used in your stringed instrument or bow. They are wood from trees that grew for decades or centuries before they were cut down to make your viola, viola, cello, or bow. After being cut down and milled, they are carefully stored to air dry for decades more. 
Like trees? Like the environmental benefits of trees? You know stuff like oxygen to breathe, carbon storing to slow climate change, soil to stabilize and nurture, shade to sit under, fruit and nuts to eat, birds and animals that live in the forest, and sap to make into syrup. If you do, be a good steward and know that your instrument comes from the health of forests.

Mata Atlantica, Brazil
A. Fein & Atelier Cremone Seraph Cello